April - How to Select the Right Size Area Rug
Updated: Jun 12
How to pick the right size area rug is not as difficult as you may think, especially if you are making all of your selections for furnishings at once.
Area rugs add a functional as well as aesthetic warmth - in addition to a soft comfort to any room. An area rug can be interesting enough to be a conversation piece or it can be simple and serene. Sometimes we will begin our room design with a rug and build the furnishings around it, including the art and accessories.
We often choose the size of the rug based on the layout of the room. For example, you can put all of the feet of the furniture on the rug, or you can put just the front legs on it as in the below image. The rug selected is an 9′ x 11′ and gives enough room for you to maneuver around the furniture. Keep in mind that based on the actual size of your furnishings, you may need to go bigger or smaller. Not all couches are created equal.
Another option is to get a rug large enough to hold all four legs of all of the furniture. This is the best solution when you have a very open concept and are trying to differentiate your seating areas. Keep in mind that a bigger rug = bigger price, so we do our best to save our clients’ money (without sacrificing design aesthetic) by using smaller rugs in the living areas whenever we can. Note there ARE variations, these are not hard and fast rules. Your sofa may be on the rug entirely, while your chairs may only have their front legs on the rug, or vice versa, and ditto with end tables. Just make sure your furniture isn’t wobbly if it’s half on / half off.
Although sometimes you must have all four “legs” on the rug as in the photo below…because these are swivel chairs and they would swivel you right off any imbalance from the rug to floor. This is a 9′ x 9′ square rug.
When it comes to the dining room, you must be able to fit all your furniture all of the way on the rug AND have room for the dining chairs to slide in and out. I prefer shorter pile rugs for this, otherwise it feels like you’re stuck in sand trying to get up from the table (especially after a couple of glasses of wine). The one below is 9′ x 11′ because of the leaf that can be added to the table to extend it, otherwise an 8′ x 10′ would have worked just fine for a standard table seating 6.
In most instances, you’ll center the dining table under the chandelier and the rug centered under both. In the photo below, the client did not want the area rug encroaching on the walkway, so the rug is a little off center, and the chair is close to the edge – it’s all a matter of personal preference as to what is most important, but there is still room to “skooch” the chair to sit without it really coming off the rug. This rug is also roughly 8′ x 10′ and notice the very low pile.
And of course, there are rugs to be used in the bedroom, usually under the bed. The sizing must encompass the bed accordingly, but will also need to be adjusted for the size of the room and any furnishings. For a standard king bed + 2 small-ish nightstands, you are generally safe with a 9′ x 12′ rug that fits under all of the feet of the furniture. OR if you have a small sofa (or chairs) and table at the foot of the bed, you can slide the same size rug down to just in front of the nightstands and just past the table to encompass every piece of furniture, as in the image below.
Another option is if you wanted to shimmy the rug so it does not include the nightstands AND you don’t have a sofa + table, you could shrink your rug size and purchase a 6′ x 9′. Just make sure that when you place it, you’re stepping out of bed onto the rug.
And finally, if you have a giant room, you can do “room border rules” where there should be roughly 12” - 18″ of bare floor space between the rug edges and the walls. This is where you basically get a really nice carpet and have it custom bound to encompass your room in whatever size / shape you wish. This is a great option when you have a uniquely shaped room, a bay window, or a niche – the rug line can follow the room’s perimeter.
Area rug sizes can be tricky if you’re trying to select them after the rest of your room is furnished. It’s much better to plan your room all at once so you know everything will work together. And if you can use some help, please feel free to give us a call! +1 908.451.5357
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